REPLogo (1)

"Own Your History"

A leadership course on the creative edge

Are you looking for a different way to engage your students with US history?


The “Own Your History” Leadership Course makes history personal- students feel part of American history through historical role-playing, and they are challenged to see how they can change the future.  The Course focuses on youth leadership, U.S. history, and civil rights. It develops new leaders for America’s unfinished business.
> NOTE: Year-long courses for high school and 8th grade will be ready for use in 2016-17.

Engaging and connecting with students

  • Starting with family remembrance, students see how they and their families fit into the larger American story. Students will feel part of American history.
  • The Course connects the past is to the present.
  • Students will experience their capacity for imagination and creativity and feel able to make a difference, maybe even change the future.
  • Every module specifically focuses on individual development and leadership.

Getting inside our history

  • M StreepThe historical content is taught primarily in an experiential or hands-on way relying heavily on primary sources.
  • Through role-playing or debates among a range of historical actors, whether famous or ordinary, each student gets into the heads, shoes and communities of many historical figures.
  • Each student gets into the historical problems, issues, attitudes in the context of a particular time and place.
  • They will think about what the choices were at that time, who the leaders were and how they led—and consider what they might have done differently.
  • It is not a history course directed to historical interpretation.
  • The OYHL Course and REP present an objective educational approach to history. They are not prescriptive—they do not advocate polices or solutions.


Do you want to help your students grow as conscious citizens and potential leaders?


Each unit develops personal leadership skills that empower students to feel able to change the future. The goal is to develop more conscious persons, who are strong and productive citizens–more self-conscious, more conscious about their interactions with those around them, and more conscious of their role in society and their power to help make it better.


The Course has the distinct mandate to develop students’ knowledge, focus their vision, and kindle their passion to be leaders for change and reconciliation in each’s unique way.
The course includes the following student projects (with the related historical topic noted).
  • B2Running assignments (family remembrance)
  • “Biography” – you are 85: what would you tell a biographer about your life, goals and accomplishments . (This document is revisited periodically and finalized at the course end.)
  • “Time capsule” – students complete answers to a set of “hard questions” about US history on day
  • Assignments on finding their voices and on taking risks. (Eleanor Roosevelt)
  • Project on dealing with prejudice. (John Lewis; LGBT Rights)
  • Project on “circle of responsibility” and leadership for change (Cesar Chavez)
  • Project on coercion/bullying (1)-(3) (The World War II Japanese-American internment; Nelson Mandela at Robben Island; Abolitionists.)
  • Student project on reconciliation, justice, forgiveness (Nelson Mandela—Truth and Reconciliation)
  • B6Project on what it means to be “American”. (The revolutionary generation )
  • Project on choices and values. (The American slave economy and U.S. economy)
  • Project on cultural diversity. (The “Trail of Tears” )
  • Project on living with fear. (Living in the American racist slave system)
  • Project on “race”: “whiteness,” “blackness,” ethnicity, and “race” (1)-(3) (“Slavery by another name”; American apartheid, North; Contemporary America)
  • Workshop on leadership for change (Postwar America)
  • Project on immigration, law and practice today. (New Nation Of Immigrants)  
  • Project on Our Unfinished Business. (“News at 11” )

How can “owning your history” change us TODAY?


“Owning your history” can be transforming because it requires us to deal objectively with our country’s historical skeletons and go beyond them.  When we look objectively at our history of discrimination and injustice and together take responsibility for our all our common past, we stand ready to embrace the future as a more unified country.

Ignoring our history, or accepting only partial or filtered history, means we will keep repeating the same mistakes—old fears among all groups in society remain powerful, and long-standing divisions and injustices continue.

civil-rights-memorial-greg-thiemeyerTruly “owning” our history means we have a deeper, shared, objective understanding of all our history, good and bad. That ownership is transforming for students and adults because we face the skeletons through a deeper, shared, objective understanding of why we as a country have not made the promise of America reality for everyone. We can end denial and move forward together as a country.

Do you have more you want to accomplish as a teacher?

You became a teacher to make a difference in your students’ lives and in your community.  Is there more you want to accomplish? Do you need help from outside your school environment?

The Reconciliation Education Project has a broad educational mission – “Developing new leaders for America’s unfinished business.”

If you have an idea or project and would like to explore collaboration with REP, please be in touch.

Learn More:

Pilot Courses